Juan Álvarez was elected to represent Area 2 of the Anaheim Elementary School district in 2018. He resides in Anaheim with his wife and two children the oldest of which is a fifth grader at Lincoln Elementary. Juan knows the value of education and is able to demonstrate his passion for education and teaching as a bilingual junior high math teacher. Juan attributes his understanding of the value of hard work to his parents, who both immigrated from Michoacán, Mexico in the late 1970’s. His father, a custodial worker and his mother, a housekeeper, always demonstrated the value of hard work, dependability, and drive to Juan and his four siblings. From a young age, Juan learned about their struggle and would often accompany his father to his weekend jobs where he learned the transferable employment skills that serve him to this day: planning, communication, responsibility, trustworthiness, dependability, and initiative. Juan’s parents always supported his goals of pursuing higher education. Juan pursued his dreams of higher education at California State University, Fullerton.
Once accepted, he became the first in his family to attend college and obtain a Bachelor’s degree. Proving his commitment to education, Juan followed his Bachelor’s degree with a Master’s degree obtained at California State University, Long Beach. Juan was the first person in his family, immediate and extended, to have two degrees. He never lost sight of his roots as a 1st generation Mexican-American. This motivated him to continue his education and obtain a Bilingual Authorization in Spanish on his teaching credential. He often recalls the struggle that his parents went through to ensure that he and his siblings were able to obtain an education and prove that Latino immigrants were capable of much more than they are given credit for.
Juan is also active in community organizing. He is a founding member of SOMOS Anaheim, a community based organization that received a distinction from the OC Human Relations for their part in restoring peace and uniting the community after civil unrest in 2012. Additionally, Juan and SOMOS, in collaboration with the City of Anaheim, created and implemented the city’s first Day of the Dead festival, “Día de los Muertos: A night of Community and Culture”. His passion for education and literacy led Juan to found a nonprofit organization, Operation L.E.E. (Literacy Engaging Everyone). With the help of community members and local students, Juan led an effort to create book stations, found citywide, wherein residents can take and/or leave books, increasing access to literature in neighborhoods with few educational resources. Juan just recently ended a term on the City of Anaheim’s Cultural & Heritage Commission where he worked on promoting art and culture within the city.
Juan looks forward to serving as a trustee and is excited to collaborate with all stakeholders.